Have you ever seen a post on a forum stating, “What coilovers will let me go the lowest?” Well, Fortune Auto never built any of those. It has never bothered tucking tires, and certainly has never looked at cars in a “hellaflush” state of mind. In fact, Fortune Auto Service and Tuning has never modded any of its cars for the sake of hard parking. The only trophies it has ever gunned for are awarded to podium place finishers after an intense Time Attack event. Essentially two sides of the same coin, one side of Fortune builds custom coilovers systems, the other handles the service and tuning duties. Together they’ve built more than one high-priced, high-horsepower Evo competition car and have been quite successful. So what’s with the Civic? The company decided to build a Honda in order to make a point. That with the right suspension and aero bits, a winning race car could be built for cheap…well, relatively cheap.
“We wanted an achievable car for everyone, one that anyone could build and race. We don’t have wind tunnels or huge budgets, and we wanted to show that you don’t need all that to build a winning car,” says Terry of Fortune Automotive when asked about his choice of a Civic platform. This particular hatch spent the last few years serving track duty already. Terry adds, “This car was a Club Racer car for years. It already had a turbo K series in it, which we wanted.” After delivery, Terry from Fortune Auto handed the keys to Matt Purvis, owner of Fortune Auto Service and Tuning, located conveniently right next door. The Honda already had a mild, built K20 setup with Type R camshafts, a ported Type R intake manifold, and an ACT clutch and flywheel setup. It was also rocking a GReddy T517Z street turbo kit. The setup netted a respectable horsepower figure, but after some tuning tweaks, Matt squeezed a solid 330hp out of the two-liter. He then proceeded to tear the interior apart to prep it for Global Time Attack, starting with stitch welding the chassis and installing an Autopower rollcage. Custom mounting brackets for the Sabelt racing harness and Sparco Pro ADV Hans racing seat came next, beyond the necessary safety and monitoring equipment the interior remained completely stripped out.
Being that Fortune is a formidable suspension company, Terry and Matt turned their attention toward the suspension next. Terry states, “We use the car as a rolling R&D center to make better products. We get to try out everything in real life situations, not simulations.” After a long process of trial and error, Terry designed custom Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers with Swift 60mm springs paired with SRR sway bars front and rear. The tired factory bushings were swapped out for Energy Suspension bushings, and the OEM rear LCAs were replaced with SRR alternatives. While designing the custom coilovers, Terry took into account the new Team Dynamic wheels wrapped in Hoosier slicks as an integral part of the suspension theory. He adds, “We take everything into account when making our coils—tires, intent, brakes, you name it.”
With Terry’s suspension installed, Matt took the reigns again, focusing his attention on the aerodynamics of the vehicle. “You have to go through a lot of failure to get to success; what you see here is the most successful of our previous designs and hours of tweaking.” Starting at the rear, Matt installed an APR GT200 adjustable wing using a custom bracket that he designed. Matt tried to emulate the designs he’d seen on F1 when designing the custom quick-release rear diffuser. “I liked the idea that things were easily removed to access the car. I did that with as much as I could in the Civic.” The front end received the same treatment and more so, being designed around an independent tube frame that could be removed easily, allowing access to the front of the engine compartment. The custom front end features a unique front air dam, one-off canards, custom side dams and a front splitter that mate to the full underbody tray that runs the entire length of the car. What does all that fancy front-end work get you?
When the guys ran at the Global Time Attack competition in 2011, they landed a time of 1:13.1, nabbing second place in their class and seventh place overall—a huge feat for a team new to the FWD GT scene. They’re not done by a long shot. Terry and Matt have a list of mods in line for the Civic, including a new drivetrain configuration and more aero tweaking on Matt’s part. They’re always going to stick to their original intent for the car; Terry states, “Aside from taking podiums, we love the ability to test and make a better product for our customers. This car highlights what good suspension and good aero can do for a car. We want to show that anyone can do this.” Matt adds, “That and to look cool!” The coolest thing you can have is your name in the win column. Keep on pushing, Fortune!